Vegetables and Fruit forum: Tomato genetics/seed saving question

Views: 472, Replies: 19 » Jump to the end
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
Image
Weedwhacker
Sep 30, 2014 7:43 AM CST
I can't seem to remember enough from my college genetics (maybe because it was in 1970) to answer my own question -- I have one Pruden's Purple tomato plant growing, which has a lot of variation in the "form" of the tomatoes; some are nice and smoothly rounded, others very oddly shaped (nothing new there for this variety). My question is, will there be more likelihood of getting a higher percentage of the nicely shaped fruit if I save seed from one like that, or would that only work if I had, say, a dozen different plants and selected fruit from a plant that had a higher percentage of the nice tomatoes ? It actually seems to me that the seed from all the tomatoes on one plant should have the same genetic makeup, I'm just kind of hoping I'm wrong...

Hope this makes sense to someone ! Smiling
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
- John Powell / Cubits.org - A Universe of Communities
/ Share your recipes: Favorite Recipes A-Z cubit
C/F temp conversion / NGA Member Map
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Sep 30, 2014 11:53 AM CST
I'm listening eagerly but I don't know the answer.

Some questions:

Does the pollen affect fruit shape or other characteristics at all?

Does one grain of pollen produce every seed in one fruit, or is the rule:
"one-grain-of-pollen = one seed"?

>> It actually seems to me that the seed from all the tomatoes on one plant should have the same genetic makeup,

Well, say there is ZERO cross-pollination, which is possible, since tomatoes are mostly self-pollinating. Both parents would be the same plant ('Pruden's Purple').

However, recombination means that every seed will have SOME variation, since the 'Pruden's Purple' variety is not 100% homozygous in every trait. They would be as similar as rather inbred brothers and sisters, but not identical twins.

Since 'Pruden's Purple' is an heirloom with fairly stable genetics, it is fairly uniform genetically (highly inbred, mostly homozygous for most important traits). Hence the "brothers and sisters" analogy is weak. Compared to people or animals, OP plant varieties are VERY inbred, so 95% of the "brothers and sisters" come out very similar.

I think you can select for one particular fruit shape IF there are any plants that have mostly one shape. But what if the shape is very dependent on some non-genetic factor like weather, water or pure chance?
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
Image
Weedwhacker
Sep 30, 2014 4:39 PM CST
"what if the shape is very dependent on some non-genetic factor like weather, water or pure chance? "

Yes, that is something I wonder about, too. Many of the flowers on my plant were obviously doubled (as best I can describe it), and those always result in the strangely shaped tomatoes...

"Does one grain of pollen produce every seed in one fruit, or is the rule:
"one-grain-of-pollen = one seed"?"

And that is another interesting question... certainly in corn each kernel is the result of one grain of pollen (or at least that's the way I understand it - ?)

hmmmmm... Confused

Maybe I'll just use the nicest ones for BLTs and get seed from the others and not worry about it...


"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
- John Powell / Cubits.org - A Universe of Communities
/ Share your recipes: Favorite Recipes A-Z cubit
C/F temp conversion / NGA Member Map
Lakeland Florida (Zone 9a)
Tropicals Native Plants and Wildflowers Vegetable Grower Cat Lover Cactus and Succulents Bromeliad
Xeriscape Pollen collector Seller of Garden Stuff Region: Florida Seed Starter Container Gardener
cycadjungle
Oct 1, 2014 6:16 AM CST
This is beyond what I know about tomatoes. Going to guys that the plant has some sort of diploid genetics in it and that is why you are getting some of these weird looking fruit. There are all kinds of hidden genetics in all plants and this one plant is a bit messed up. Given you want to use this one plant for future growing, the best thing to do is take seeds from as many fruit as possible to plant out, and after you grow many plants, weed out the inferior plants. Whether there is good scientific reason for this,or not, but I would just take seeds from good looking fruit just to make sure. Tom
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
Image
Weedwhacker
Oct 1, 2014 12:47 PM CST
Thanks, Tom -- now I'm wondering how DH is going to feel about me plowing up our entire yard so I can plant a hundred or so Pruden's Purple plants Rolling on the floor laughing
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
- John Powell / Cubits.org - A Universe of Communities
/ Share your recipes: Favorite Recipes A-Z cubit
C/F temp conversion / NGA Member Map
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Oct 1, 2014 6:16 PM CST
This site never mentions picking specific "fruits" to save seeds from, only "plants".

http://www.kdcomm.net/~tomato/Tomato/xingtom.html
http://kdcomm.net/~tomato/gene/genes.html

It does go into why it takes so many generations to "fix" one or more traits.
And why it is so much faster to select for recessive traits than dominant traits.

My guess is that if you don't see definite improvement after 2-3 years, fruit shape is either controlled by many genes with partial dominance, or environmental effects.

It also gives good advice about how to cross two plants despite tomato's tendency to self-pollinate. (Remove the anther cone from the female parent bloom before the flower opens, aiming for 24-36 hours before the pollen would have dropped.)

It sounds to me as if the practices that probably pre-date Mendel are still just about the best we can do without gene guns and modern lab techniques like Agrobacterium plasmids or CRISPR.

Remove the poorer plants.
Protect your seed plants from undesirable cross-pollination.
Collect seeds from the very best plants.
Repeat for at least 8 generations.
After that, still pay attention and keep "roguing out" throwbacks and undesirable plants.

P.S. While you're playing the numbers game with 64, 128 or 256 plants, be sure to taste each plant! Wouldn't it be a shame if you bred some wonderful-tasting tomato, or one that cured baldness and depression, but never realized the fact and composted it! One like that would be worth taking cuttings and offering to serious research labs for DNA sequencing.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Oct 1, 2014 6:20 PM CST
Whoops!

http://kdcomm.net/~tomato/Tomato/mutant.html

There are at 20 KNOWN genes for shape.

So even if they all have simple dominance and minimal interaction, there are at least 2^20 possible combinations (1,048,576).

Fortunately, most of those sound so hideous that you can be sure you don;t have any of them in Pruden's Purple.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Oct 1, 2014 6:57 PM CST
I think this is my last link. I came up with, perhaps not more than I WANTED to know, but more than I had ENERGY to learn.

http://www.kdcomm.net/~tomato/Tomato/xingtom.html
http://kdcomm.net/~tomato/gene/genes.html

-

Although this Scientific American article praises hybrid supermarket tomatoes over heirlooms (???!!!???), it has a few paragraphs about fruit shape. However, most of the article contradicts everything I know or have read about heirloom vs. mass-market tomatoes. If I owned a dozen supermarket chains and supplied hybrid seeds to agribusinesses, this is exactly the kind of article I would want to see printed. But it might be right about the "shape genes".

"... plucked a gene called SUN from one heirloom tomato and inserted it into a wild relative. As a result, the tiny fruits bulged like pears,
... another shape gene called OVATE... both seem to have been nurtured in Europe in the last several hundred years to ease mechanical harvesting and processing."

----
I guess you would have to buy the book, but I saw one page while Goggling "tomato breeding fruit shapes"

http://books.google.com/books?id=rVE_25aO9oIC&pg=PA80&lpg=PA...

page 80, "Genetics, genomics and Breeding of Tomatoes" $95 (or you can RENT it on Kindle)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/search?index=books&linkCode=qs&keyw...

"fruit shape index"
"obovoid"
"ellipsoid"
rectangular, long, round, blocky, flat, oxheart, heart
"proximal end blockiness"
"proximal eccentricity"
"distal end protrusion"
"distal end angles"
"locule number"
See Table 3-1 for sure!
genes SUN, OVATE, FAS and LC are the four main "shape" genes in cultivated tomatoes.
-

I downloaded this PDF since it has a ton of information about fruit shape, but it is pretty technical. Heavy reading ... maybe after I retire.
http://www.plantcell.org/content/16/suppl_1/S181.full
http://www.plantcell.org/content/16/suppl_1/S181.full.pdf+ht...
-

This one is WAY too technical for me:
"The making of a bell pepper-shaped tomato fruit: identification of loci controlling fruit morphology in Yellow Stuffer tomato"
http://www.oardc.osu.edu/vanderknaap/files/stufferms.pdf
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
Image
Weedwhacker
Oct 1, 2014 9:10 PM CST
I think I have a headache now...

I seem to remember that quite a few years back someone was advertising a square (well, "cube-shaped", I guess) tomato variety; wonder whatever happened to that? Or, for that matter, why that would be desirable??

This has made me glad that I didn't somehow find myself in the profession of tomato breeding. (I did like the plastic eggs, though)

Blinking
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
- John Powell / Cubits.org - A Universe of Communities
/ Share your recipes: Favorite Recipes A-Z cubit
C/F temp conversion / NGA Member Map
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
Image
Leftwood
Feb 5, 2015 9:01 PM CST
I think you'll find that this Scientific American article summarizes the disadvantages of heirlooms in more understandable terms. It's even, dare I say, interesting! (And, it might even relieve your headache, Sandy. Whistling )

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/case-against-heirl...
Name: Claud
Water Valley, Ms (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member
Image
saltmarsh
Feb 6, 2015 12:47 PM CST
[quote="Leftwood"]I think you'll find that this Scientific American article summarizes the disadvantages of heirlooms in more understandable terms. It's even, dare I say, interesting! (And, it might even relieve your headache, Sandy. Whistling )

]http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/case-against-heirl...

For me the comments in your link were more interesting than the article. From your link:

"These new "Heirlooms" will be patented if Monsanto is involved. Which means it will be ILLEGAL for you to save the seeds (if indeed they actually produce seeds). And if their patented gene gets in your Heirloom tomato varieties, even by accidental cross-polination, they can sue you. If you don't believe me, just Google Percy Schmeiser and Rodney Nelson."

I grow 40 to 50 varieties of Heirlooms and open pollinated tomatoes each year. What I'm looking for in my order of preference is taste, texture, productivity, and at least a little disease resistance. But before any of those considerations is the question "Can I save the seed and grow the same tomatoes in years to follow?"

The only reason I grow any F1 hybrids is for comparison to their dehybridized version.

Culture can make a world of difference in a variety. As an example, a neighbor who has his garden about a quarter mile from mine grows Big Beef f1 tomatoes each year. I grow a dehybridized version of Big Beef which is currently 12 generations removed from the f1. He grows his in a cage, doesn't prune and uses commercial fertilizer. I prune to 2 stems and trellis mine. The only fertilizer I use is the grass and weed clippings growing around the plants. Both tomatoes look and taste the same, but mine are ripe 3 weeks before his and while he has more tomatoes per vine, they are considerably smaller. The production is about the same in terms of pounds of fruit.

Commercial growers get paid by the number of pounds of marketable fruit they produce, not what it taste like and I don't think that will change. They don't gas green tomatoes to make them turn red because it improves the flavor. They all do it because it improves the marketablity of an inferior product. It doesn't just change the color, it also decreased the amount of time they have to warehouse them so they can get green tomatoes to market sooner.

Sandy, I've been growing Prudens Purple for several years and it is an excellent tomato. I've noticed some varieties are more sensitive to the temperature when the blossom is fertilized. Early blossoms tend to procuce more cat-faced and irregular fruit because of poor pollination caused by cooler temps and the same thing happens to some degree when the nights stay too hot.

Your zone is much cooler than mine and that might account for the difference you're seeing in the fruit. Mine are mostly smooth and pretty uniform in size. One thing you might try is to remove fused blooms and as soon as the tomatoes have set, remove any which show signs of cat-facing or irregularity, allowing the plants to put their energy into the remaining fruit. You should get about the same pounds. Try it with one and compare it to the others.

Also if you think the seed is a problem PM your address and I' send you some of mine. You should still have plenty of time to get them started. Claud

Compare the picture in this link: http://t.tatianastomatobase.com:88/wiki/Pruden%27s_Purple

Most of mine look like this:

Thumb of 2015-02-06/saltmarsh/9d0809
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
Image
Weedwhacker
Feb 8, 2015 11:21 PM CST
Rick, the article was definitely "interesting," but I can't say that it made me feel any better... kind of disturbing to think that Monsanto would be in charge of "improving" the heirloom varieties!

(at least the links that Corey posted just gave me a headache from trying to wade through and make some sense of it, I'm not used to having to think that much since I retired a few years back... Whistling )

What is really disturbing is the trend to making it harder and harder for us to propagate plants -- legally, at least.

@Saltmarsh, Claud, that is a very interesting observation about the temps, I hadn't thought of that -- last summer (actually the last 2 summers) here was unusually cool, and I actually did notice a lot of the "fused" flowers. This year I'll take your advice and remove those blooms and any weird fruit -- I really do love this variety and it's worth taking a few extra measures! Also very interesting that the pruned and trellised plants produce ripe fruit so much earlier than the un-pruned, caged plants do... especially since the latter is the method that I use! I've also read that root pruning will produce earlier ripe fruit -- do you have any experience with that? Thanks for the great advice, anything I can do to get earlier (and nicer) tomatoes is a huge plus! Thumbs up
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
- John Powell / Cubits.org - A Universe of Communities
/ Share your recipes: Favorite Recipes A-Z cubit
C/F temp conversion / NGA Member Map
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
Image
Leftwood
Feb 9, 2015 7:38 AM CST
I am getting the idea that readers here think I posted the Scientific American link because I support Monsanto or am against heirlooms.

Absolutely NOT! I'd have to reread the article with a critical eye, but I meant it (and thought it) to be a much more clear presentation of the facts without bias.

Everyone has opinions, and mine are neither all good or all bad about heirlooms. Like apples and oranges, hybrids and heirlooms are different. If you like apples, that doesn't mean you hate oranges, or vice versa.

I rarely read comments to any blogs or articles. There are so many reasons, but most can be summed up in the statement that "they make me mad", and ruin my day. Sorry, I prefer to my own conclusions.

If I could have erased the "M" word from the article, I would have. I regret having brought up the ugliness.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
Image
Weedwhacker
Feb 9, 2015 11:13 AM CST
Rick, I didn't take your post to mean that you were supporting Monsanto, and didn't take any offense (or whatever) that you shared the link. Smiling

I also don't have anything against hybrids, and grow quite a few of them; I'd like to find more heirloom types that do well for me, so that I can save seeds from them and be less dependent on the big seed companies. As for Monsanto (or anyone else) "improving" the heirlooms, that's supposedly been the point of all the hybrids that have been developed, right? And because of their work with genetic engineering, I also take that statement to mean that they want to genetically modify (as opposed to developing hybrids) the heirloom varieties. Presumably to sell to home gardeners... which I have to think will only make it increasingly more difficult to obtain any sort of seeds that haven't been affected by the GE. Which they will then claim to have a patent on and make it illegal for saving and sharing seeds because they have genes that "belong" to the company that developed those plants. It also reminds me of all of the "brilliant" plans that have been implemented over the years for introducing non-native species of plants, animals and insects for whatever purpose, only to have them completely change the ecosystem. It's extremely difficult to go back once that happens, and I really think that we will find ourselves in even worse straits with GMOs.

At any rate, I do like to read all sorts of opinions, whether they agree with mine or not, and personally have absolutely no "regret" about your post. Smiling
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
- John Powell / Cubits.org - A Universe of Communities
/ Share your recipes: Favorite Recipes A-Z cubit
C/F temp conversion / NGA Member Map
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Feb 9, 2015 12:07 PM CST
Rick R., it WAS interesting.

One thing about the new GE tool "CRISPR" is that it reduces the time and expense of R&D. In the past, only a few huge companies with deep pockets could afford to experiment with GMOs. Of course, they focused 100% on profitability and marketability.

Now that the cost of entry is lower, more companies (and government-sponsored labs, including Third-World government-sponsored labs) can experiment with GE crops. Hopefully they will focus on crops needing lower energy inputs, less fertilizer, and capable of growing on more marginal land.

But now an even higher % of the cost will be the filed trials and other tests needed to get FDA approval (or other governments' approval). The FDA might set lower standards for crops with no transgenic DNA, since "it could have been produced" by normal breeding and selection.

I feel a lot better about a GE corn that has just a few genes "edited" to match genes from other corns, than I felt about a bacterial-plasmid-transgenic corn.

Name: Claud
Water Valley, Ms (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member
Image
saltmarsh
Feb 9, 2015 3:55 PM CST
[quote=]"@Saltmarsh, Claud, that is a very interesting observation about the temps, I hadn't thought of that -- last summer (actually the last 2 summers) here was unusually cool, and I actually did notice a lot of the "fused" flowers. This year I'll take your advice and remove those blooms and any weird fruit -- I really do love this variety and it's worth taking a few extra measures! Also very interesting that the pruned and trellised plants produce ripe fruit so much earlier than the un-pruned, caged plants do... especially since the latter is the method that I use! I've also read that root pruning will produce earlier ripe fruit -- do you have any experience with that? Thanks for the great advice, anything I can do to get earlier (and nicer) tomatoes is a huge plus! :thumbsup:" [/quote]

Sandy, I do have experience with root pruning tomatoes and it does work but I had to go back to a previous life to explain its use.

My Grandfather was a truck farmer and my father was a truck farmer. Children were required to work on the farm and there weren't any friendly discussions about what was to be done or when it was to be done.

The rules for how to complete tasks were very simple. There was the right way of doing things, the wrong way of doing things, my way (my father's) of doing things, or the highway (I took the highway when I was 12).

My father taught me to farm as his father had taught him. There was very little explanation as to why things were done a certain way, you did as you were told or you got your butt beat. It doesn't take many dances with a leather belt to quell your thirst for knowledge about farming.

Tomatoes were a primary cash crop and market forces worked then as they do now (but the market is very different). Tomatoes brought to market early were worth 3 times as much as the same tomatoes were after the market broke (when most farmers were selling their produce). The price would drop to 1/2 then quickly to 1/3 then stabilize for several weeks until the individual gardens started producing and the market was glutted and you couldn't give them away. I saw my father feed many loads of No. 1 tomatoes to the pigs rather than helping to glut the market. When your livelihood depends on it, the market can be just as deadly as any disease.

I hope you understand how important early tomatoes were to us when I was growing up. We normally had tomatoes ready for market 3 to 4 weeks before anyone else depending on the weather. Our market area was basically the north half of Mississippi, from Jackson on the south to Memphis, Tennessee on the north and from Greenville on the west to Corinth and Columbus on the east.

We did a number of things to get ripe tomatoes early. We only grew hybrids (marketed for their disease resistance and shorter days to maturity) even though they were much more expensive because late maturing varieties would only end up as feed for the pigs.

The cultural practices used were very similar to those shown in this french film with a few key differences. When the seeds were sown in the cold frame we didn't sow them quite as thickly as shown in the film. This eliminated the thinning and replanting in the cold frame step and the week to 10 days the plants required to recover from it. We used a different approach when you see the plants removed from the cold frame for planting in the fields. Our transplants were about twice the size of those shown in the film because growth hadn't been interupted by the thinning step and where you see the bare root plants in the basket ready for planting, we did something entirely different. We pulled the plants out by the handful also but then separated the individual plants and muddied their roots. A shallow hole was made beside the cold frame and dirt and water was added to the hole to make a thin mud. The plants roots and lower stem were dragged through the mud to coat the roots and stem, a bucket was laid on its side and the transplants were stacked in the bucket with the roots toward the bottom. The mud protected the roots and stems from drying out and causing transplant shock (another week to 10 day delay) and the bucket kept the wind from drying the plants while they waited to be planted. When you pull the plants from the cold frame you are root pruning at the same time.

In the film you'll see the tomatoes planted in a nice flat field. Our early tomatoes were planted on south facing hillsides using what is called contour farming where the rows follow the contours of the land. This allows water to drain slowly during rains but keeps the soil from being washed away. The south facing hillside creats a micro climate which has nighttime temperatures about 5 degrees warmer than the bottoms below. In effect you have moved your field a full zone south for early and late crops (similar to what is accomplished with grow tunnels today). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contour_plowing

The film also shows several types of pruning. Single stem with plants topped after the sixth cluster and also single stem topped at the second cluster, regrowth permitted to the 4 cluster, topped again, and regrowth permitted to the sixth cluster for a final topping. Each time the plant is topped the plant will redirect more of its energy into the existing fruit. In both cases you end up with a plant with 6 clusters of mature fruit. We pruned to two stems and topped both stems after the fourth cluster. This produced a plant with 8 clusters of fruit in the same time required to produce a six cluster single stem plant.

Again in the film you'll notice the woman guiding the horse as the farmer guides the fixed tooth harrow through the row of tomatoes (root pruning them) and loosening the soil. We used mules trained to Gee (move to the right) and Haw (move to the left) and a spring toothed cultivator called a Gee Whiz pulled by a shortened single-tree. This allowed closer shallow cultivation after the tomatoes were topped to loosen the soil and root prune them without causing damage. Claud

The film: http://www.ina.fr/video/VDD09005621/la-culture-de-la-tomate-...




[Last edited by saltmarsh - Feb 9, 2015 4:18 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #783846 (16)
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
Image
Leftwood
Feb 9, 2015 6:45 PM CST
Thanks for those memories, Claude. They belong in an album of family stories.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
Image
Weedwhacker
Feb 9, 2015 10:05 PM CST
wow, Claud, that was a very interesting movie -- I only wish I could read more French than "mise en place," which I know from the cooking shows... I'm wondering if the variety shown near the end, "Roi Humbert" is the same as the "Umberto" that I grew last year ?? I also have to think that the growing season in France is a lot different than mine..

I did understand (even without being able to read the language) the pruning, and I believe I will be a bit more aggressive with that this year... I'll probably try pruning every other plant or something so I can compare the difference. really appreciate the input !! Thumbs up
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
- John Powell / Cubits.org - A Universe of Communities
/ Share your recipes: Favorite Recipes A-Z cubit
C/F temp conversion / NGA Member Map
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
tveguy3
Feb 10, 2015 7:03 AM CST
I usually start my seeds in a peat pot, two to a pot, and select the strongest one to remain. The roots will grow out of the bottom of them, and I always pull off the bottom of the pot before planting. That pulls off some of the roots. Do you think that's enough of a root pruning, or should I do something different? Thanks.
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
Image
Weedwhacker
Feb 10, 2015 10:12 AM CST
Good question, Tom -- I've never done any root pruning when I was transplanting, other than if the roots have gotten potbound by then I'll cut through them (in a top to bottom direction) with a knife before setting in the ground.

What I was actually originally thinking of in terms of "root pruning" is that I've read that tomatoes will produce ripe fruit sooner if you cut into the roots with a shovel once the plant is grown. I guess I need to do some experimenting!
"Blessed is he who has learned to laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be entertained."
- John Powell / Cubits.org - A Universe of Communities
/ Share your recipes: Favorite Recipes A-Z cubit
C/F temp conversion / NGA Member Map

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Vegetables and Fruit forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Today's site banner is by nativeplantlover and is called "Bumble Veronica Pink"